So the Ginger Gent and I have a tradition. As I have not had my full driver’s licence, we have always transported our Christmas tree via the TTC. It had to be light enough for mommy to carry it, and tied up well enough not to whack any innocent bystanders on the bus. Riding a bus with a tree is always an interesting experience, I can just feel people enjoying the smell of the Balsam and see the odd smile.

For our traditional tree lot of choice we go to the East Minister Church on The Danforth. Frequenting this area in life, Ben and I have seen many of the same homeless residents year after year, and it had led to a lot of serious conversations about homelessness, losing your job, going hungry and coping with addiction. We always try to give change when we can, and if not sending up a little prayer that they find the things and the people they need to help them. This dialogue has been very necessary as my little Gent has been battling heartache about the homeless for years because no, it is not fair, and no it doesn’t make sense to a child that has no idea how cruel and complicated the world can be, but he is certainly beginning to. So this holiday season let’s make it simple.

 Ben hugging a tree that is an example of way too big for mom to lift so don’t get your hopes up!

The reason we always go to East Minister Church is is that it runs an Out of The Cold Foundation where 20% of profits after costs goes to participating groups running winter programs. And that got us thinking. We have talked about donating to a toy drive, food drive and clothing drive, but in this case it helps folks directly. Founded in 1988 as a an “extensive emergency response and homeless prevention program,” it works with participating agencies, churches, synagogues and other groups that provide a safe space for the homeless.

And let’s be honest, as the days get colder and darker, I think about the homeless people around me every time I walk down the street. Knowing that there are programs like this one makes me feel like I have some way to help support existing programs. You can also donate online.

There are three locations that you can visit to buy a tree that supports Out of the Cold, so this Christmas give the gift of compassion. For a full list of organizations that run programs, visit the Out of the Cold location page.

Next Christmas, why not buy a tree from one of the following locations:

  • East Minister Church on The Danforth 310 Danforth Avenue (W. of Chester)
  • St.Peter’s Church at Bathurst and Bloor, in the back at 659 Markham St.
  • No Frills at 243 Alberta, just north of St. Clair.

So from The Gent and I to you have a loving and joyful time with friends and family this holiday season!

About the Author

Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow their adventures on PinkPlayMags' parenting blog "The Ginger Gent" , and also on Kelly's own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at